Do you know how your friends are doing?
To become another’s friend int he true sense is to take the other into such close, living fellowship that their life and ours are knit together as one. It is far more than a pleasant companionship in bright, sunny hours. A genuine friendship is entirely unselfish. It seeks no benefit or good of its own. It does not love–for what it may receive–but for what it may give. Its aim is “not to be served, but to serve” (Mark 10:45).
Perhaps true friends are in such low supply these days because of how much it costs to be one. Here are six costs of true friendship.
- Friendship costs personal convenience (Philippians 2:3).
We often think of friendship as hanging out and having fun. That’s certainly part of it. But the test of our love comes when our friend wants to do something or needs something from us that isn’t so fun. This is when we must be willing to put aside our personal preferences and value others as more important than ourselves. Maybe they’re going through a hard season and need us to listen. Perhaps they need a favor we find burdensome. Friendship can be a personal inconvenience, but when we call someone “friend” we agree to partner with them in life. That will cost us our personal convenience.
- Friendship costs time (Genesis 2:18).
We are made for community. God said it isn’t good for man to be alone.This was true before the fall, and it’s even truer today. Companionship takes time. You can’t expect a truly meaningful friendship without putting in the time. Friendship requires effort and unless two or more actually spend time together, it’s hard to truly know and serve one another.
- Friendship costs intimacy (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12).
What drew you to your friends? Was it humor or cleverness? Did you admire their creativity and love for family? Maybe you were attracted to their kindness or their organizational skills or a common interest. At first, we only see the good sides of our friends. But if this is all we see, then we’ll have shallow friendships.Friendship is designed, among other things, for growth in godliness. This means friends help each other identify and fight faults. Doing this requires you knowing their heart and them knowing yours.
- Friendship costs comfort.
Friendship is easy when it’s filled with laughter and everyone’s sipping lattes and getting along. But what happens when storms roll in? What do we do when we disagree? How should we handle harsh words thoughtlessly spoken? Feeling hurt in the natural response. So is the temptation to turn bitter and walk away. True friendship, however, forgives, seeks restoration, and moves on together. This is probably the hardest part of true friendship. It is a sacred thing.
- Friendship costs prayer.
Friends pray for each other. If you don’t pray for your friends, you’re not a true friend. A hard word, isn’t it? Prayer is one of the means by which God acts. Real friends don’t just pray for each other every once and a while–they pray frequently.
- Friendship costs love.
Faults will reveal themselves the more time we spend with our friends. It’ll come out in our lives and in theirs. Sometimes unkindness and selfishness may emerge. When God calls us to befriend one another, He’s calling us to love and forgive. The price is so costly we cannot pay it on our own. We need Jesus’ power to love like this. As He loves us, He would have us love others.
Friendship is costly, but it is worth it. It is a gift of God–a gift He himself first modeled for us in the gospel. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for friends” (John 15:13).